The guest list lent proof that the event was going to be filled with what was arguably one of the most unique crowds in a long time.

Family, friends, surfers, musical band members, snowboarders, anglers and more surfers – many carrying their own Frierson Design boards that turned the Princess Anne Country Club reception hall into a makeshift museum.

The gathering was exactly what it was supposed to be – a celebration of the life of Bill Frierson, one of the best-known and most-famous surfboard makers to ever shave a piece of foam.

Pictures were shown on a large screen and several of Frierson’s best friends told stories.

Tears flowed and laughter filled the room.

Frierson’s longtime wife, an incredible lady named Grace, welcomed a vast majority of the group with her warm smile and classy demeanor.

Frierson’s died a few weeks ago after a long battle with cancer. He was 76.

Surfers, artists and musicians have mourned his departure to the swells in the sky.

He was that kind of guy.

Frierson stories are more plentiful than the number of family and friends who could and couldn’t make it last Friday.

Surfboards of all sizes and length filled the entrance and hall – almost all of them personally signed by the former co-owner of Wave Riding Vehicles.

Frierson had surfed all over the world, developing an envious, effortless and smooth style that marveled anyone watching.

Humble, with model-good looks, Frierson also painted and built. He learned to play several music instruments on his own and was starting to make charcuterie boards and cutting tables that were every good as anything else he chose to get into.

A hall of fame member of several surfing and board shaper organizations, he was well known anywhere a contest or great swell was taking place.

Back when I was a newbie to the journalism world and was asked to cover the East Coast Surfing Championships, Frierson was one of the first to recognize that I was somewhat out of place.

An attempt to learn how to ride had failed to turn me onto the ins and outs of the surfing world. But Frierson was one of the ones who took the time to let me know that he would be happy to clue me in on the aspects of the sport – things I would later need to be accepted into the world I was covering.

He and I talked often about our health woes and sometimes prayed together.

The ride home to North Carolina last Friday was filled with plenty of my own stories of him, including the three hours I spent interviewing him in his shop for an ECSC 50th anniversary feature.

I was extremely privileged to be invited into the shaping room to watch him do his thing. He was an obvious perfectionist who enjoyed the company of others.

But in his element he was one of the most focused people I’ve ever met – and I’ve met more of my share.

It was an honor to know him and call him a friend, and is was much of the same to say goodbye.

Enjoy the swell, Bill, I have a really good feeling that it’s marvelous.

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